Duterte's profanities vs. media 'unprecedented' - media expert

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — While the media has always been critical of government administrations in the past, President Rodrigo Duterte's expletive-laden attacks on the media are unprecedented, said an officer of media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

"No administration has ever been completely happy with the media. You can say that the Marcos administration, the Corazon Aquino administration, Ramos administration, Estrada administration and so forth, but this is unprecedented in the way the President of the Philippines has attacked the media…the profanities for example" CMFR officer Luis Teodoro told CNN Philippines' News Night on Friday.

This follows Duterte's tirade the day before against news outlets Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN for alleged biased coverage of his administration.

The group National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) had earlier slammed the President for his remarks over the two media outfits, calling out his rudeness and disregard for democracy.

Teodoro explained while it was within Duterte's rights to be critical of the media, the problem lay with his baseless allegations.

"The problem is the allegation that these media organizations are always unfair, and that they are corrupt. Now the problem is that there are no particulars in these accusations. Where does the conclusion that they are corrupt come from? What are the specific instances, for example?" he said.

Teodoro then emphasized it was wrong for Duterte to generalize that Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN have always been unfair in their reports.

"I think that you cannot say that they have been always unfair. There have been instances in which they have been unfair, there has been unfair reporting, or biased reporting, there is no question about that. But the idea that certain media organizations are always unfair or are always inaccurate, I think is mistaken," he said.

Even before his presidency, Duterte has been known to lash out at the media with strong statements during press briefings, and even challenging reporters in coverages.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Friday that Duterte did not plan on filing libel raps against the media outlets which he believed had been biased against him.

Abella said the President had more important things to attend to.

The presidential spokesperson reiterated Duterte's statement was not meant to attack Philippine journalism in general, but only against the unfair reporting by the two media giants.

"For example the way the war on drugs was frames as war on the poor. It seems to imply he is focusing on a particular class which is hardly the point, but the way that particular media framed it insinuates a particular bias which leans towards malice," he said.